If you are looking for the best CrossFit shoes, a decision on which one to buy is definitely not the easiest one to make.

Since launching the partnership with CrossFit in 2010, Reebok shoes have taken the center stage but Nike has quickly caught up. We can never write off adidas and Under Armour when it comes to athletic shoes and there’s also Inov-8 or Nobull, who fight for our attention.

What are best CrossFit shoes then?

We’ve thoroughly tested and researched 22 models of CrossFit footwear, taking them through all possible workouts. Cardio, metcon, weightlifting, gymnastics, calistenics, running… You name it, we have done it all.

According to our detailed notes, our testers have spent 931 hours in the gym (and counting) testing the shoes mentioned in this report.

All for a single reason – so you can choose the best CrossFit shoes for your needs.

Best CrossFit shoes – our picks

Our Top5 ranking as of June 2018

1. Reebok CrossFit Nano 8


Without any doubts, Reebok Nano 8 are the best CrossFit shoes at the moment. They might look similar to Nano 7 Flexweave but when it comes to performance, there’s simply no comparison.

SPT Score: 9.1/10

RRP: $130 (check current price here)

2. Nike Metcon 4


Other than the improved, more durable upper, there are no major changes compared to the previous release, Nike Metcon 3. “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, we respect that.

SPT Score: 8.8/10

RRP: $130 (check current price here)

3. Reebok CrossFit Speed TR


Amazingly versatile CrossFit shoes but aimed more towards bodyweight movements and gymnastics than weightlifting. If you have a pair of lifting shoes, Reebok CrossFit Speed TR complements them just perfectly.
Available at a very competitive price point.

SPT Score: 8.6/10

RRP: $90 (check current price here)

4. Inov-8 F-Lite 235 v2


Great all-round CrossFit shoes. Versatile, flexible, comfortable. Not much to complain about but at the same time a little… boring.

SPT Score: 8.6/10

RRP: $130 (check current price here)

5. NOBULL Trainers


We love the minimalistic design and functionality. Not 100% convinced on the upper breathability hence a few points deducted but we still believe it’s an outstanding choice for anyone looking for something different from Nanos or Metcons.

SPT Score: 8.4/10

RRP: $130 (check current price here)

 

List of shoes that we also tested but didn’t make it to Top5:

  • Reebok CrossFit Nano 4
  • Reebok CrossFit Nano 5 (better to avoid)
  • Reebok CrossFit Nano 6 (one of our past favourites)
  • Reebok CrossFit Nano 7
  • Nike Metcon 2
  • Nike Metcon 3
  • Reebok CrossFit Speed TR
  • Reebok CrossFit Lifter PR
  • Reebok CrossFit Speed Her TR (best CrossFit shoes for women)
  • Reebok CrossFit Grace
  • adidas CrazyPower TR
  • Inov-8 F-Lite 195
  • Merrell Bare Access Flex
  • Asics Conviction X
  • Asics Gel-Fortius 2 TR
  • New Balance Minimus 20v4
  • 361 Bio-Speed

How we choose the best CrossFit shoes

What features should CrossFit shoes have?

Surely they must withstand heavy loads, be flexible, not restrict our range of movement, but also be stable enough to prevent injuries.

CrossFit is one of the most versatile sports and that requires us, the athletes, to work on every part of the body. The combination of strength (e.g. weightlifting), gymnastics (e.g. box jumps) and conditioning (e.g. running or double-unders) means that we have to adapt to different work patterns smoothly and quickly.

The same principles must apply to good CrossFit shoes.

Versatility

The first thing you need to be aware of when choosing the best CrossFit shoes for us is that they need to have features that are theoretically incompatible. And a few others that were never important to us when practicing other activities.

Ideal CrossFit shoes should be stable and flexible, lightweight and durable. Unfortunately, there are no shoes that be perfect for weightlifting and running sprints at the same time.

It is, therefore, necessary to settle at a certain level of quality in each of these aspects.

Outsole

First, we should eliminate all soft-soles shoes from our list. Period. Working out with heavy loads with a cushy gel or soft-foam will negatively affect our stability and balance, which can lead to serious injuries.

Although good enough for lifting and often even preferred for deadlifts, shoes with thin soles should also be removed from the list. For running, box jumps, double-unders we need some degree of cushioning not to cause unnecessary overloads.

The ideal solution then is a relatively hard and more stable sole with the slightly raised heel. This should allow for a stable position during the squats as well as during any form of jumps and running.

We must also remember about the appropriate level of flexibility of the outsole. An overly flexible sole will destabilize your position when moving fast, but an overly rigid sole will prevent you from using your fingers to spring from the ground.

To test out shoes for flexibility, it’s a good idea to make several jumps on just the toes, just like on the speed-rope. If you can easily make such jumps, but also feel a slight resistance in the sole at the bottom phase, it means the shoes are good to go.

Construction

Another step in our search of the ideal CrossFit shoes is to look at their length, width, and height. Sounds obvious, right?

CrossFit shoes should usually be half the size larger than your regular shoes. This is to ensure your feet have room to move even when the get a little swollen during training.

However, be careful not to leave too much free space inside a shoe, as it might reduce your stability and traction.

In terms of height of the upper, the ideal CrossFit shoe should end just below the ankle in order not to restrict the mobility of the ankle joint in any direction.

As far as width is concerned, here, too, we should determine the balance between stability and maneuverability. A good test is a sudden change of direction (left, right, front, rear) in the shoes you are testing.

Materials

The last aspect we should pay attention to is the material the shoes are made of.

Footwear ventilation is a very important aspect because during intensive training (which you do A LOT in CrossFit), the shoes should be able to get rid of moisture as efficiently and quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, good ventilation is often mistaken with a piece of netting that wears out quickly. Therefore, we should focus more on the quality of materials.

Do you even need CrossFit shoes

Questions about buying shoes specific to a given discipline arise oftern, and the answer is very simple.

If you’re a beginner a have good gym shoes that meet the above characteristics at least in some extent, you can hold off with buying a new pair for now. Use them for a few weeks, see if CrossFit is something you get into, and decide then. There’s no rush.

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